July 29, 2011 § 1 Comment
The fermentation of cabbage is a very ancient chinese tradition that is believed to have come to Europe with the nomadic Tartars. So whilst we usually associate Sauerkraut with Germany, it is really only the name that bares its origin there. The French on the other hand call it ‘choukrout’.
Interestingly the fermentation of sauerkraut takes place with 3 different microorganisms in different successional stages of the process determined by increasing acidity. However when making sauerkraut you don’t have to worry about this, the microorganisms will take care of themselves wonderfully. What you will have to do is very very simple.
I find it so satisfying and a little bit magical harnessing the bacteria from the air to transform food. As you will probably come to know, fermentation is one of my most favourite things. On this matter, sauerkraut is a very good place to start, as it is really very very easy.
This recipe comes from Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions.
1 medium organic cabbage, cored and shredded (use half red and half green and end up with a beautiful pink sauerkraut)
1 Tbsp sea salt
4 Tbsp whey (alternatively use an additional 1 Tbsp salt)
Shred the cabbage and combine in a bowl with the salt and whey.
Pound with a wooden pounder, or anything similar you can get your hands on. I usually use a metal potato masher. Keep this up for about ten minutes to release the juices.
Place in a large wide mouthed and steralised glass jar. Press down firmly with pounder or potato masher until the juices rise above the cabbage. The top of the cabbage should be at least 1 inch bellow the jars mouth. Cover tightly and leave at room temperature for approximately 3 days before transferring to the fridge. It is then ready to but will improve with age.